Six still missing after landslide

A barricade made from tree branches was built by police who arrived into the area as advance team for Prime Minister James Marape’s arrival into Saki, to stop people from running to the helicopter arriving with Marape.

SIX people are still missing in Saki, Goilala, Central, as villagers continue digging through mud and debris in the third week of efforts to recover the bodies from the Dec 28, 2020, landslide.
The decision on whether the search continues or is called off will be discussed when Goilala MP William Samb meets with Prime Minister James Marape.
Samb gave an update on the search saying that communication continued to be a problem in the area.

Villagers and a policeman looking over the disaster site as search continues. In the background is the remains of a landslide that took 15 lives last Dec 2.

However, he said the discussions between the PM and himself would see how they could best approach calling off the search efforts through customary obligations.

Goilala MP William Samb (front) and Prime Minister James Marape descending to the Mundi River where 15 people were lost during the Dec 28, 2020, landslide. He visited the site on Jan 6 to see for himself the devastation caused by the landslide.

“With so many lives lost, and as it is a PNG community affected, we want to approach this issue of calling off the search through customary means, and this means how we, as the district, can come in with the support of the Central government and the national government,” he said. “I want to speak to Marape on what comes after everything is completed.
“For me, it would be organising awareness and training for the villagers who continue to live in the area.
“While we talk about alluvial mining, we want to ensure the mining area is safe and that the people understand the dangers of working in such environments where they are in enclosed tunnels and the weather is unpredictable.
“We want to create safe alluvial operations for all those who run businesses from what is earned through the mining operations.

Prime Minister James Marape pointing to the site of deforestation where trees have been cut by the villagers to build their homes. Behind him is the remnants of the landslide.

“That will be continued to be discussed so we support the community but ensure they are empowered economically as per the Government’s slogan of ‘Taking Back PNG’.”
Samb thanked business houses and individuals that donated cash and in kind to support the relief efforts.

A view 100 metres up from the main camp. The homes are built closely with families sharing their homes with strangers who may visit anytime during the night or day.

“We are thankful for the support and also we are organising the relief efforts which are flown into Saki and we are continuing to receive more support and for that, I want to thank everyone who has donated.”
The search in Saki continues, all nine bodies that were retrieved during the first week of the disaster have been removed and sent to their villages.
Those who were found were repatriated to Udukuma, Mondo, Kone, Sopu and Tolukuma all in the Woitape local level government.


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